ASSAf Addresses Air Pollution and Health at the Innovation Bridge-Science Forum SA
In June 2019, the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine from South Africa, Brazil, Germany and the United States of America came together to issue an urgent call to the action of harmful air pollution. The Academies called for a renewed global compact to improve collaboration on the growing problem, and for governments, business and citizens to reduce air pollution in all countries. The call was launched with a publication of a science-policy statement which was submitted to the United Nations (UN) headquarters.
Subsequent to the release of the statement, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) hosted a session at the 2019 Innovation Bridge-Science Forum titled ‘Tackling air pollution and health in the era of the fourth industrial revolution”. The objectives of the session were to identify problems associated with air pollution and health and their impact in developing countries; identify existing opportunities for investment, research; innovation and entrepreneurship associated with indoor pollution; transport and energy; align emerging technologies to technological developments critical in advancing Africa in the era of the 4IR; and place young people in the centre of driving future technological development in solving problems associated with air pollution.
The session was moderated by Professor Rebecca Garland, Principal Researcher, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) who gave an overview on the state of air quality in South Africa. Dr Caradee Wright, Specialist Scientist, SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and Professor Stuart Piketh from the North West University (NWU), who were some of the experts that contributed to the statement, formed part of the panellists. The panel also included Dr Thulie Khumalo, Chief Director for Air Quality Management from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Although air pollution presents a myriad of problems for developing countries, especially those on the African continent. Endless opportunities exist for new technological development to aid in combating indoor pollution, clean transport and clean energy options.